Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Co-Chair Walks Back Voting Rights for Boston Marathon Bomber

BETHLEHEM, PA - APRIL 15: Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in a FOX News Town Hall at SteelStacks on April 15, 2019 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Sanders is running for president in a crowded field of Democrat contenders. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Mark Makela/Getty Images

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who serves as co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘s (I-VT) 2020 presidential campaign, broke with Sanders over his support for allowing the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to vote from prison, telling CNN’s New Day on Wednesday that he “wouldn’t go that far” to restore voting rights for felons.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

JOHN BERMAN: Do you believe in the right of the incarcerated to vote, Congressman? And what’s your response to the [Boston Marathon] survivor who is disappointed in Senator Sanders?

REP. RO KHANNA: Well, I saw Rosanne’s statement on your show and she’s very inspiring and my heart goes out to her. Let’s start with some basic facts and then I think my state, California, shows the way forward. Senator Sanders is talking about this because mass incarceration is an issue of racial disparity. One out of every three black men are in jail or find themselves convicted of a felony. We have a country which has gone from incarcerating 500,000 people to 2.2 million people, and this is disenfranchising for many people of color. I think California has a compromise where felony convictions, those who are nonviolent in county jails have the right to vote, but those who have committed violent felonies, like the Boston Marathon, don’t have the right to vote. And that seems like a reasonable way forward where you’re re-franchising people, but not giving someone like the Bostom Marathon bomber.

BERMAN: To be clear, that’s a different position than Senator Bernie Sanders. You acknowledge that, correct?

REP. KHANNA: It is a different position than the one he articulated. I think it’s a comprise position going forward and one that has worked in my home state of California.

BERMAN: Okay, but you do that he’s wrong about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should have the right to vote?

REP. KHANNA: I think that I wouldn’t go that far. I mean, obviously, he should have the right to be treated for cancer if he has cancer, and he should have certain human rights, but I wouldn’t go that far in terms of giving him the right to vote.


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